Colorado district attorneys warned the governor that he had set a “troublesome precedent” by intervening in the Rogel Aguilera-Mederos case.
DENVER (KDVR) – District attorneys warned Governor Jared Polis he has set “a troubling precedent” in reducing the prison sentence for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos while the case is still being resolved, say that this action undermined public confidence in the law.
In a letter to Polis, District Attorneys Michael Dougherty and Daniel Rubenstein – a Democrat and a Republican – agreed that the 110-year sentence in the deadly interstate crash “is too severe” important”. But they insisted that by reducing the sentence to 10 years before a judge could weigh it, he bypassed the system.
“That sentence is too low for the man who killed four people in the appallingly reckless way that Mr. Aguilera-Mederos chose to do so,” reading letter. “However, as we look to the future, our greatest concern is that you have chosen to interfere in a pending case, thereby undermining the integrity and trust that the people of Colorado have. for the judicial system.”
Rogel Aguilera-Mederos: The Truth of the Case
In 2019, Aguilera-Mederos was driving an 18-wheeler through the mountains on I-70, and his brakes failed as he headed east toward the subway. He ended up crashing into more than two dozen stopping vehicles and four railroad halves in Lakewood, killing four people and injuring at least 10 others.
District attorneys outlined several factors that they say led to Aguilera-Mederos’ conviction:
- He failed his driving test multiple times, lied on job applications with trucking companies and was previously fired by a trucking company.
- Before the crash, he had turned off safety monitoring and driving logging, hiding how long or fast he drove, stopped and rested.
- He was driving at a dangerous speed for hours before the crash.
- His brakes took long before the collision, causing him to pull over to the freeway because of it. He disobeyed a supervisor who told him to wait for the necessary cooling and brake system assessment and returned to driving a few minutes later.
- He failed to use the ramp where the truck was moving, honking his horn and flashing his lights to warn the driver.
- Just before the crash, he swerved into traffic to avoid another large rig that was pulling over to the side of the highway, testifying that he feared the collision would kill him.
“He put his own interests above the interests of others at all times leading up to, and including, the accident,” the district attorney wrote.
Aguilera-Mederos convicted of 27 counts, including vehicular homicide, in October. His 110-year sentence was the result of mandatory minimum sentencing law applies to violent crimes or any offense where a person is killed or seriously injured.
Sentence, awarded on December 13, causing global outrage and an online campaign for support. On December 30, Polis used his gubernatorial power reduced sentence to 10 years. It comes just two weeks before a scheduled sentencing hearing begins.
“It is unprecedented to intervene before allowing the judge – who has heard all the witnesses, seen all the evidence and understands the case better than anyone else – to exercise his statutory authority, is unprecedented, premature and unwarranted,” the letter read. They said they were not aware of a governor ever interfering in a pending case.
DA says travel is affecting cases
Dougherty represents the 20th Judicial District, in Boulder, Polis’ hometown. Rubenstein represents the 21st Judicial District that includes Mesa County. Both serve on the Sentencing Reform Task Force, which is examining “the basics of sentencing options in the Aguilera-Mederos case,” according to the letter.
They say the governor’s actions are affecting the courts. In Boulder County, an offer to plead guilty to a family member accused of sexually assaulting a young girl carries a sentence of eight years in prison. But defense lawyers said the offer was “excessive”, pointing to the case of Aguilera-Mederos.
The two said they wrote the letter before meeting with the governor at the Colorado County Bar meeting.
https://kdvr.com/news/local/colorado-crash-trucker-sentence-commutation/ DA rebukes governor for reducing Colorado trucker’s sentence